Inspired by Thai peers, Laotian netizens demand democratic reforms
Defying bans, they flood social media with hundreds of thousands of posts criticizing the communist regime in Vientiane. They ask for a change to fight corruption and poverty. Milk Tea Alliance online movement grows, in support of protests Thailand and Hong Kong (and critical of China).
Vientiane (AsiaNews / Agencies) - Inspired by the young Thai democrats, in recent days’ Laotian netizens have published hundreds of thousands of posts on social media denouncing the bad governance in their country and demanding democratic reforms.
Laos is dominated by a communist regime: criticism of the one-party system is punishable by prison. Defying government bans, Laotian internet users launched the hashtag "#IfPoliticsWereGood" on Twitter. They are calling for freedom of expression and change to address problems such as corruption and widespread poverty.
In online messages, the Laotian authorities are accused of misusing taxes. For example, school facilities are not adequately funded. This leaves the country with high levels of illiteracy, while local leaders send their children to study abroad. Laotian "online protesters" are also protesting the damage caused to the environment by government policies and the great economic disparity between the ruling elite and the rest of the population.
The democracy movement in Thailand, which has been demonstrating against the government and the monarchy for more than three months, has boosted the comments of Laotian netizens, supporting their cause.
Some observers believe that the protests in Laos broaden the scope of action of the Milk Tea Alliance, an online movement that has so far supported democratic groups in Thailand and Hong Kong. It was originally created to oppose China's hegemonic claims in the region, with activists mainly present in the Philippines and Taiwan.